A Labour amendment to the Trade Bill, which would have barred any deal which “undermines or restricts” the NHS or its being free at the point of use, was defeated on Tuesday evening. The amendment intended to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services from any form of control from outside the UK.
As well as shielding the NHS from foreign control, the amendment also sought to protect the wages and rights of NHS staff, control medicine pricing, and protect patient data.
The Trade Bill will now pass to the House of Lords. Its purpose is to aid in the transitioning from EU trade agreements to UK agreements, ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU at the end of the year.
The defeat of the amendments totally contradicts the promise that the UK would ‘take back control’ post-Brexit. It also directly contradicts the Prime Minister’s promise in October that “in any future trade negotiations with our country, our national health service will never be on the table.”
A further amendment on food standards, designed to keep US chlorine-washed chicken out of the UK, was also defeated, as well as an amendment which would have required parliamentary approval before trade deals were signed off.
Grahame Morris MP said, “The defeat of these amendments totally contradicts the promises made by the Prime Minister about protecting our health service in Brexit negotiations. There are now no legal protections that guarantee food standards or protect farming, and a trade deal can now be agreed without Parliamentary approval. The Government’s defeat of these amendments is nothing short of a betrayal.”
A petition by We Own It is calling on the House of Lords to amend the Trade Bill: